Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Don Mitchell


carceral geography, Chicago, prison, public housing, public space, reentry

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The Chicago Housing Authority’s recently announced Reentry Pilot allows limited numbers and limited types of ex-offenders to live in Chicago’s public housing for the first time (officially). Through interviews with policymakers, advocates, resident leadership, and service providers, as well as ex-offenders enrolled in or waitlisted for the Pilot, this thesis explores how the various stakeholders envision the goals of this Pilot and what factors they identify that may limit its success. By reshaping housing policy not only for the limited number of ex-offenders included in the Pilot but indeed, by pushing for broader sets of reforms, the Pilot attempts to intervene in the carceral continuum that exists in the U.S.: a fundamentally spatial continuum that regulates poor, racialized bodies rendered surplus under capitalism. In this way, the Pilot has the potential to be a system-pressuring “non-reformist reform.” What studying the Pilot teaches us is that, to begin to make inroads into addressing the carceral continuum and to make our cities more just for everyone—to the extent possible under current political and economic systems—we need a concordant policy continuum that is currently lacking in US political and administrative institutions.


Open Access



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